A fiery interview with the Florida Panther’s General manager on Thursday shows that he’s done messing around
“If some of these guys don’t get more consistent in their play, well, they won’t be here. Simple as that.”
That was from Dale Tallon during the first intermission on Thursday after a lackluster first period from the Florida Panthers against the Ottawa Senators. It’s very clear he’s not happy and he’s willing to make drastic changes if it means a chance at the post season.
Over the past few seasons, he’s been very active with moves such as buying out Jussi Jokinen’s deal, trading for Mike Hoffman, trading Riley Smith to the Vegas Golden Knights, and trading James Reimer to the Carolina Hurricanes. During this most recent off season, Tallon opened up his check book. He got the coach that led the charge for his built for success team in Chicago that won them three Stanley Cups in six seasons, Joel Quenneville. He also got players to go with his coach during free agency. His biggest fish during free agency was signing Vezina trophy winner Sergei Bobrovsky, who was just fresh off of sweeping the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round of the post season last year. Furthermore, he signed Brett Connolly, who was just coming off of career highs in points. He is now third on the team in goals with 15. Additionally, he acquired Noel Acciari, fresh from his Stanley Cup run with Boston. He has more goals than Aleksander Barkov right now with 14. Certainly this was unexpected, but his new found scoring touch is much appreciated and needed. Lastly, in an attempt to bolster the defense, he signed one of Tampa’s veterans, Anton Stralman. With all these pieces, you’d think these team would be built for success. And now that Florida is near the brink of cap hell, they cannot afford another failing season.
During the interview, there was one word Tallon kept going back to over and over again, and that’s “consistency”. He hits the nail on the head as he talks about how inconsistent this team can be. A perfect example is on Thursday against the Senators. Florida started the game with an early power play goal, but started to slip away and let Ottawa take a lead of 2-1. Then it seemed as if they saw Tallon’s first intermission interview as they roared back with four goals in the second. Florida ended up taking that game by a score of 6-3.
Another good example was their four goal comebacks against both Boston and Anaheim in November. They seemed outworked and just beaten down early on, but proceeded to look like Stanley Cup contenders by the third period. While its great that the Cats won those games, they cannot coast that early on as most teams will punish you for that mindset.
If this team wants to get into the playoffs, they need to start adding the word consistency to their vocabulary.
Whats next for Tallon?
With the trade deadline looming in about six weeks, it is not known what Tallon is going to get done during that time period. But it is clear he wants to see change, and if he’s going to have to pull the trigger on a trade he may not hesitate this time around. Years ago Tallon traded fan favorite David Booth as the team struggled early out of the gate. Much to the fan bases shock, the trade worked out quite well as the Panthers won the Atlantic Division, and made the playoffs for the first time in years. Booth as a result was never the same player again as he was the Panthers. Will it take a bold move like that? Or will it be something smaller?
Some things to look at not only as he tries to find consistency, but also as the trade deadline approaches. Mike Hoffman and Evgenii Dadonov will be free agents at season’s end. Signing both is very unlikely. However, when both are on their games are very valuable pieces. One of the two could stay, but there’s always a chance that they could lose both. One thing for sure is that the defence needs to be shored up. One of those players along with a prospect might be used to make that fix. Remember that in order to make a trade, you have to not only find a partner to take what you’re offering, but be willing to part with something you no longer either value, or realize that to get what you want, that’s what you have to give up.
It’s not easy like many think. The Panthers are up against it regarding the salary cap, so if any trade is made for a quality player, someone making big bucks has to go the other way. Stay tuned, it’s going to be an interesting second half.
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